Winning their first game back after the All-star break on home ice, where the team has struggled for most of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs travel to Carolina to begin a 5-game road trip when they face the Hurricanes Tuesday night.
The Leafs' 4-1 Victory over the Canadiens was one of their best performances at the Air Canada Center all season, with Defenceman Pavel Kubina scoring 2 goals and adding 1 Assit while Goaltender Andrew Raycroft turned away 27 of 28 shots aimed towards against.
Mats Sundin and Jeff O'Neill added the other 2 goals for Toronto, who are now 23-21-6 after 50 games for 52 Points on the season. The win keeps them 2 wins out of the last spot in the Eastern Conference (Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, NY Rangers).Pavel Kubina said:"We played a great defensive game, even offensively we played well. We had a lot of chances 5-on-5. I thought the special teams, especially the power play, was unbelievable. We deserved the victory, we dominated them for the whole game pretty much."
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Defenceman Ian White is expected to return to the line-up tonight in place of Brendan Bell, while the Leafs will continue to be without Winger Darcy Tucker (Foot) fo an unknown period of time, and Centerman Kyle Wellwood for 7 weeks.
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Andrew Raycroft, whose performance was no less a part of the victory in Toronto last Saturday, currently has a high 3.04 Goals Against Average and an .894 Save percentage for the Leafs after 41 games. He is a 21-16-4 overall in that span.
Leaf Captain Mats Sundin continues to lead the team with 43 points (19G, 24A) and is tied for the team lead in goals with the injured Darcy Tucker.
Toronto remains 4th in the Northeast division, trailing the Buffalo Sabres by 18 Points.
The Carolina Hurricanes have lost 3 of their last 4 games, their last being a 7-3 loss to the Washington Capitals.
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The 'Canes are 6 points ahead of the Leafs in the Eastern Conference standings, their struggles as of late slowly stalling their chase of home-ice with the Montreal Canadiens' victory over the Ottawa Senators last night. Carolina is now 3 points back and have 1 less game to play. They also trail the Senators in the standings currently sitting 6th in the East.
Veteran winger Ray Whitney, who was passed over as an All-Star for teammates Eric Staal and Justin Williams, leads the team with 57 Points in 52 Games (20G, 37A).
Captain Rod Brind'Amour, also passed over, is 2nd on the team in points with 54 Points in 48 Games played. (14G, 40A). Brind'Amour is on pace for his best season in a decade, possibly passing his numbers from last year where he led his team to the Stanley Cup Championship.
Meanwhile, 'Canes Goaltender Cam Ward remains with the starting job between the pipes for Carolina with a 21-13-5 record after 40 games, and a 2.90 Goals Against Average and .897 Save Percentage.
Tonight's game will be the 3rd meeting of the season between the to 2 teams, with Toronto winning the first 4-3 in Carolina, and Carolina winning the second 4-1 in Toronto.
The Leafs' last loss to Carolina was in huge part to their undisciplined play in the 2nd Period. The their performance on Saturday didn't do much to change that with them taking 10 penalties in their win over Montreal, but they look to cut down on that department when they visit Carolina to start their roadtrip.